Charity says more government spending is needed and a minister dedicated to prioritise the issue must be appointed as the situation has become critical
Scotland is facing a mental health crisis and the government must appoint a minister dedicated to prioritise the issue, a major charity has blasted.
Children in Scotland says it believes the impact of mental health difficulties on children and young people has reached critical point.
The charity, which represents voluntary, statutory and professional organisations and individuals working with children and their families, says children’s education is suffering as a result and child and adolescent mental health support is inadequate.
Calls to its own advice service, Enquire, from worried parents, whose children were struggling to make the most of their education because of a mental health condition, have also increased over the last year with several saying their child had been out of school for a significant length of time and that they did not know how to support their return.
We strongly believe that mental health must be regarded as being on a par with physical health
Jackie Brock, chief executive of the charity, said: “The next Scottish Government should reflect its understanding of this issue and the priority it deserves to be given by creating a new ministerial-level post specialising in mental health.
“This is a real opportunity to bolster recognition of the importance of good mental health throughout childhood, and to contribute towards a shift in societal views.
“We know that adolescence is the peak onset period for mental ill-health and many young people will carry these problems into adult life, with negative consequences in terms of educational achievements, employment and relationships.
“For these reasons we strongly believe that mental health must be regarded as being on a par with physical health.”
Children in Scotland made the call in its manifesto for May’s Scottish Parliament election.
It is also calling for the next government to promise there will be no reductions in local authority funding over the course of the next parliament in a bid to protect services for children and families.
In fact, more investment in prevention and early intervention approaches, is needed it says, to help stop problems deteriorating to the extent that they required specialist support.
Brock added: “To achieve real change we urge more investment in prevention and early intervention approaches to help prevent the development of many mental health problems in children and young people, and the impact this can have on education, family life, and life chances.”